So it’s just about here. Just over one week to go and it’s time for all GAGRs to start doing their pre-season prep. It’s been a long wait, but over the last few weeks we have had a glimpse of 2017 mixed in with some 10’s.
But are you ready? Are you prepared?
Yeah -nah, you’re not.
Now first up game times. THURSDAY NIGHT people! Yes, the 2017 Vodafone Super Rugby season kicks off on a Thursday night; the 23rd of February. So, if you haven’t got a plan in place you need to get it sorted pronto.
Now, here is where it gets hard folks. When it comes down to which basket you are putting your eggs in it’s a real lottery.
In 2017 so much has changed. Nothing is as it was so who do I back and who am I sledging about what?
The bloody Reds are free of RG and might actually be competitive so how can we roll out our sledging with any confidence? They do however have Quade* which will give us all some ammunition (Reds supporters included) but will it be enough? Will the nine time Brumbies Players’ Player of the year make an impact at the Reds or will the Queensland “give it to Kerevi” Reds end up being the same old one trick ponies and focusing in a single player like Quade Kerevi? If the “give it to Kerevi” ship stars taking on water and gets toxic we might want to break out the popcorn as it could end up as a ripper of a reality type show – “Battle of the Captains”. The cast will feature a no less than 6 past and present full or vice captains.
*Renowned author Matt “JK” Rowley’s latest work; “Quade – It’s my fault; the unauthorised biography” will be available soon at a book fair somewhere.
The Force. What can we say about the Force? In 2015 they looked like they had the shite together and in 2016 went backwards so fast they overshot mediocre and forgot to stop going backwards. Well, like the Reds they have ditched the baggage and started again and are an unknown quantity. They can actually play at times (no really, there were fleeting moments), so if they can get their act together who knows? Do we dare fire a shot westward or are we tempting fate? What if Jono Lance starts playing the house down behind the usual good forward pack just to spite us. Damn unreliable Force, and out of our view so do we dare?
Now this is where this writer is struggling with Aussie Rugby. In 2017 things are already messed up with a player with 142 Brumbies caps, George Smith, in red and the Reds and Force threating to be competitive.
You know when you see something and you just know it was an omen? Well, I have had the experience twice lately and I just can’t reconcile myself to it totally and I know some of my fellow GAGR’s will have the same crisis of conscience (except for Tahs fans who have no moral or emotional compass if it gets them a win).
This has now jumped out at me from the wild Canberra wilderness twice. My instincts screamed it was wrong! My brain looked at the black – a BLACK WALLABY! I bet the bloody Kiwis have something to do with this abomination! It’s just wrong.
But what does it mean?
Got it – the Brumbies. They have been doing it tough and through sad circumstances they have imported a Kiwi as their fly half. It’s a necessary evil and it will be weird (and against my natural instincts) supporting a Kiwi. (makes me feel dirty!). But what about the Brumbies this year, are they a basket case or will they get it together. Where is the bar set and when will the coaching change come and will it change things up? That’s a bit like shifting sands to predict; except for the reliance on the maul will be the weapon of choice of the Wallabies backs coach.
The Rebels have also imported a Kiwi. We could argue theirs is worse being from All Black stock but the less kiwi banter the better. So what will the Rebels do this year? They keep threatening to be competitive but manage to epitomise the term “competitive” by winning about half of their games. By mid-season we can normally fire the sledges their way comfortably but at some point, they are going to accidently win more games than they lose and it will bite us. One thing I will be eagerly awaiting to see is if they go back to their halfbackscrumhalfflyhalf with the “man bun” (another thing that’s just wrong) to see if it helps them win more than half their games.
So that just leave the Tahs. As always, they are the team we all hate. Before you Tah fans start protesting, you all know after 20 long years of being let down you have a little bit of Tah hate ingrained into your soul. Now, a Kiwi (they are bloody everywhere) seems to have the Tahs looking good early on and has some pretty good depth as well. I can’t believe it takes a Kiwi to show us how to invest in the young talent. Nah, it’s actually Gibson learning the lesson of the past so that if the skater-boy does the hair flicking and contact drills for the media and takes out half the team again he has some depth to cover. But it’s all meaningless as come game time who knows what the Tahs will do. They are looking good, but it’s hard to compare to the rest of the teams so it could be a false dawn.
So where does it leave us?
GAGR has your back! Over the next week GAGR will be previewing all of the Super Rugby teams. It’s time to study up on your previews!
This is your final week of pre-season GAGRs then it’s time to put your money where you mouth is and make that sledge count, your gloating unmissable and your excuse solid!
BRING IT ON!